Congressman Owens opposes study aimed at imposing fees for border land crossings
Monday, April 22, 2013 - 5:08 pm

Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) is opposing a study proposed by the Department of Homeland Security that is aimed at imposing fees for people who enter the U.S. by way of a land crossing.

According to a DHS budget submission, the study would assess “the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee.” The proposed fee would apply to both the northern and southwest borders of the United States. DHS would want the study to be done within nine months of enactment, but Owens vowed to prevent the measure from coming to light.

Owens, representative to the U.S. House of Representatives from the North Country’s 21st Congressional District and co-chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, said such a fee would not be good for business or for relations with our northern neighbors.

“Imposing a fee to cross the border is a bad idea, plain and simple,” Owens said. “I represent a number of communities that depend on Canadian travelers and investment to support local businesses and job growth. Instead of adding an additional barrier for commerce, we should be taking more steps to ease the legitimate flow of people and goods between our two countries.”

“I will explore all legislative options available to me to prevent this move in the months ahead,” Owens said.

“Good work is being done across the district to reduce wait times and promote increased trade with America’s neighbor to the North. We should keep focus on these positive developments and set aside any initiatives that would diminish the progress already taking hold.”

Owens recently hosted a forum at Clarkson University on initiatives to promote cross-border trade, including the Beyond the Border Initiative and the Regulatory Cooperation Council.

Rep. Owens’ office provided the following U.S.-Canadian Economic Data:

· The U.S. and Canada share a $1.2 trillion economic relationship, including trade, tourism and other activities

· Canada remains the largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States.

· Tourists from Canada made more than 21 million trips to the United States in 2011, spending more than $24 billion in the process

· New York’s 21st Congressional District includes 13 border crossings

· Canada plays a tremendous role in New York State’s economy, accounting for an economic impact of over $1.6 billion in Clinton County alone every year.

Sources: Canadian Embassy, North Country Chamber of Commerce